Under the present setup of the P200-billion cash aid program for poor families, local government units should be made to submit their data, subject to vetting by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other concerned national agencies.
This is a recurring mistake: What we are implementing now is a top-down mode of listing and distribution of funds to recipient families instead of a bottom-up approach, hence there is an obvious disconnect between the national government and the needs and priorities of the rightful recipients.
More than the central government, the LGUs have a better grasp of their constituents’ needs through their community-based surveys being undertaken periodically.
As I post this, we have been receiving numerous complaints of incorrect data that do not tally with the actual number and identities of persons in need on the ground. Mayors are complaining that they bear the brunt of the blame and protests from their constituents because of too much centralization, further compounded by the President’s recent pronouncements that there are enough funds to cover all the 18 million families in compliance with the Bayanihan Act.
Unless immediate adjustments are made by the DSWD and other support agencies, I’m afraid the very purpose of the Social Amelioration Program and the disbursement of the P200 billion will not be accomplished. Worse, and I sincerely hope not, a potential social problem might occur due to the loss of income brought about by a prolonged business inactivity and work stoppage affecting a large segment of our labor force particularly the daily wage earners.
We should all learn from Albert Einstein when he defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.